Vicious Review: “Flatmates”

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Here’s my review of Vicious season two episode “Flatmates.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

After really enjoying the previous episode, I was a bit disappointed in “Flatmates.” I can’t quite put my finger on why. I’d like to say it was the lack of Penelope because she brings out the most laughs from me, but I suspect even if she was there, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Perhaps the problem lies in not exploring the full potential of shaking up our core dynamics.

The core of this show has always been Freddie and Stuart and their relationship. But Ash, the upstairs neighbor, and Violet, the long-time friend, are always important as well. This episode takes our usual status quo and turns it on its ear. Freddie and Stuart break up and separate, leaving Ash and Violet to deal with the mess. In theory, this has potential to be fun. At first, we’re curious to see how the new dynamic will play out. How will Stuart interact with Ash as roommates? How will Freddie act with Violet? It should be fun to see them interact in new ways.

But honestly, it wasn’t fun and it brought out the worst in Freddie and Stuart. Well, Stuart wasn’t so bad. The worst thing he did was throw out Ash’s stuff to redecorate, but mostly, he was just boring. Freddie, on the other hand, was awful. Or more awful than usual. The bit about him repeatedly asking who Violet was talking to (“Don’t respond to my text. He checks my phone.”) was more disturbing than funny. I don’t appreciate jokes that make light of people who are trapped in abusive relationships where one partner is overly controlling. It’s not funny. Not even parody can make that funny.

While Freddie and Stuart are horrible to everyone and also each other, there’s at least enough affection underneath the “vicious” persona. But honestly, it only really works when the two of them are being mean to each other. You turn the focus on someone else, like Violet, it doesn’t work. And that’s what soured this episode for me. Instead of giving us some fun Odd Couple-esque hijinks, we got a more vicious episode than usual.

But I will say that I enjoyed Freddie and Stuart making up, and the flashback was a fun touch. Like I said, their viciousness works better when you can see the affection for one another too. Sure, the whole thing at the restaurant was predictable, but their reactions were good. It was kind of… cute(??) to see them catch up on what they’ve missed in the day apart from each other. By that point, I’ve forgotten what they were fighting about too. Along with that scene, the flashback did a nice job of showing that their relationship has always been this way.

We may have taken a brief detour but we’re finally back to the status quo. But even the status quo is a bit different now that the wedding is back on. We’ll see how the season finale pulls it all together next week.

Vicious Observations

  • I’m not going to talk about the weird Ash/Violet subplot because it still bugs me even if Violet was just joking.
  • I think the guys playing them in the flashback did a wonderful job of emulating how Ian and Derek speak. But the over-the-top flamboyant campiness was a bit too ridiculous in my opinion.
  • Stuart: “Only until I get back on my feet. A year at most.” Ash: “How long for just one foot?”
  • Freddie: “I thought you said the asbestos was killing you.” Violet: “Yes, well, at least the asbestos is doing it more slowly.”

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.


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